About 120 species of evergreen subshrubs from the more arid high level regions of the eastern Mediterranean and central Asia. They are cushion to mat-forming with densely tufted shoots bearing mostly awl to needle or grass-like, prickle to spine-tipped hard-textured leaves. The summer-borne flowers are composed of a funnel-shaped calyx, usually with a flared membranous margin, and five spreading petals. They are carried in shortish, simple or branched spikes which can be loose or dense. In the Flora of Turkey (Vol. 7.1982), from which the botanical details below were culled, there are no flower diameters, but usually the lengths of the calyces and/or the largest subtending bracts are given. In most species the lengths of the calyces are at least twice as long as the bracts, sometimes considerably more.
Desirable cushion plants, most of which appear to require an alpine house and plenty of sun, though many species have rarely or never been tried in cultivation. To date, only A. glumaceum and A. venustum have generally proved themselves reliable in the open, requiring sharp drainage and either a scree or a vertical crevice or dry wall facing south or west. Propagation by seed in spring or cuttings late summer, both methods often giving poor results. It is best to put out young plants into their permanent positions and leave them undisturbed thereafter.